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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2000 Honda Insight 220k on the ODO. Changed the oil two weeks ago, doesn't burn a drop.

Three days ago I started hearing what sounded to be a noisy tensioner. As the car warmed up the noise went away so I drove it 38 miles to work. I drove it home that evening and parked her. Took the other car to work Thursday.

I ordered a tensioner pully to arrive by today, Friday. I'm working from home today and wanted to move the car into the garage to work on it tonight.

The car doesn't have an IMA battery, is bypassed and starts from the 12v starter. It's a newish battery. Ground Straps are good, ect.

When I tried to start the car to move it into the garage the starter felt like it engaged properly at first but then seemed to disengage from the flywheel.

With the car in gear I tried starting it again and the starter propels the vehicle forward so it's engaging. I suspect I'm losing compression. The starter is turning the motor too freely.

Every five seconds when trying to start the motor there is a slight indication that the motor wants to fire up to turn the motor over but not enough to start it.

Also I noticed yesterday evening when I had a moment to diagnose the problem I started the vehicle on the second crank because the first crank seemed to give way at first. Started on the second attempt and didn't think too much of it at the time.

So my assumption at this time is I'm losing compression. That it may be timing chain related. I think a compression test is in order.

Since I'm working from home today and have several meetings, I may not get back to this thread until this evening. Appreciate any thoughts into items to consider or look at.

Thanks,
 

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So my assumption at this time is I'm losing compression. That it may be timing chain related. I think a compression test is in order.
Possibly. There have been a few cam breakages and cam drive failures. Pop the valve cover and make sure the cam is turning as you turn the engine.
 

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It sounds just like the problem we used to have with Volvo 850s.
The owner would start the car from cold, drive it a few yards and turn it off. If this was repeated the excess fuel required during cold start would wash the lubricant from the pistons/cylinder bores resulting in loss of compression. Cue, oil in spark plug holes and a lot of smoke!

Insights with IMA start will spin the engine so fast that this problem would be unusual.

So, compression test first then check cam as mentioned by jime.
 

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If you do a compression test, do it with the IMA switch off. According to the service manual, the test is supposed to be done with the 12V starter.

Also, have someone hold the throttle wide open. That is also in the manual, and it does make a significant difference in the final number.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Last night I removed the valve cover and rotated the A/C compressor with my hand. All the rockers move. The chain is tight, clean. VTEC filter clean. Removed fuse number 2 to shutoff fuel delivery and performed a compression test (Ice cold)

110, 75, 60 - I understand this can be misleading when cold.

Next I will be confirming TDC alignment from CAM to Crank. Need to confirm fuel delivery if TDC checks out, injector and coil test procedures ect.
 

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110, 75, 60 - I understand this can be misleading when cold.
It is certainly better to do it with a warm engine, but I don't think those numbers are right even cold. Did you have someone hold the throttle open? Does the gauge have a sound O-ring seal?

I good sound engine will pump 180-200 lbs, when it is warm. The service manual lower limit is a bit lower, but certainly not at those levels. Since they are vastly different it might also be a blown head gasket. That happens occasionally. And, it could have jumped timing, as you say.

Easiest way to turn the engine is with a socket on the crankshaft pulley. If you don't have one that fits, AND if the car is on a level hard surface, you can just put it in 5th gear and roll it back and forth.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I made a video of an attempt to start the car with the intention of posting it on youtube. With spark plugs in, the starter felt as if I was losing compression like starting a car with no plugs in it. The car would not start though it would try to.

I removed the accessory belt. Yes, my tensioner is shot wobbly and grindy. For grins I attempted to start the car without the belt. Felt that the starter was engaging the flywheel with an initial slap like it should. After the third crank, The car fired up. Running rough at first, turned it off, Started the engine again first crank, heard and felt the starter engage like it should and it fired right up, smoother.

I'm not comfortable to think I'm out of the woods with this yet as I may have more than one issue and a bit miffed right now. I'm replacing the tensioner and get belt and will go from there.
 

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Check the cam timing. Easy to do. You should have done that when the valve cover was off. You could have a sheared pin on the camshaft, If the cam rotates just a little, the engine will act weird on starting.
This can be done with the tensioner unattached. Just don't run it long without the belt, as that runs the water pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Cam timing checked out TDC all good. Posted a video of symptoms. Wasn't expecting it to start, it stalled shortly after. Noise was evidently coming from the tensioner before I replaced it.

Tried to restart after it stalled - no go. towards the end of the video you can hear it trying to start again.


Took the belt off and started up little rough. Shut it off and restarted. It was smoother. Replaced the tensioner and it seems my problem is solved. Running much quieter and consistent for the moment.

In disbelief that this would cause an issue with starting and not venturing far until I'm comfortable with it.
 

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You are using the 12V for starting which turns over the engine at app. 250 RPM. The IMA spins the engine at 1K RPM. Big difference. Make sure you have a completely charged 12v battery before starting all the time. Monitor the 12V system with a gauge.
 

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Neighbor!

Yes, very odd that this resolved when the tensioner was replaced. How many attempts after you replaced it did it take to start?

This sounds like my other car after it has sat a while. It was yesterday morning when this did not start? It was cold and rainy. Was your tank near empty? Could water have condensed and gotten into the fuel?

Also, was the only sound the tensioner made a grinding sound? At any point did it make a squeaking sound? I'm trying to find the source of a squeak that is most prominent under load at about 1500-2000 RPM.
 

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sean, that sounds like the old cold weather belt squeak. Try a little belt lube on both sides of the belt. check the belt tension. It is supposed to be automatic iirc but maybe something isn't working.
 

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Sorry jime, the belt tension is not automatic. There is an adjuster for that purpose.

sean:
Check for a possible First CAT heat shield rattle if the belt tension looks OK.
 
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